The Three Musketeers, Volume 1

Overview

Dumas's tale of swashbuckling and heroism follows the fortunes of d'Artagnan, a headstrong country boy who travels to Paris to join the Musketeers - the bodyguard of King Louis XIII. Here he falls in with Athos, Porthos and Aramis, and the four friends soon find themselves caught up in court politics and intrigue. Together they must outwit Cardinal Richelieu and his plot to gain influence over the King, and thwart the beautiful spy Milady's scheme to disgrace the Queen. In The Three Musketeers, Dumas breathed ...
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Overview

Dumas's tale of swashbuckling and heroism follows the fortunes of d'Artagnan, a headstrong country boy who travels to Paris to join the Musketeers - the bodyguard of King Louis XIII. Here he falls in with Athos, Porthos and Aramis, and the four friends soon find themselves caught up in court politics and intrigue. Together they must outwit Cardinal Richelieu and his plot to gain influence over the King, and thwart the beautiful spy Milady's scheme to disgrace the Queen. In The Three Musketeers, Dumas breathed fresh life into the genre of historical romance, creating a vividly realized cast of characters and a stirring dramatic narrative. The introduction examines Dumas's historical sources, the balance between fact and fiction, and the figures from history that formed the basis for the central characters of The Three Musketeers.

In seventeenth-century France, young D'Artagnan initially quarrels with, then befriends, three musketeers and joins them in trying to outwit the enemies of the king and queen.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-With swelling musical background, the clash of swordplay, and the occasional thump of a head being cut off, the St. Charles Players bring back the feeling of radio theater in their rendition of the classic tale by Alexandre Dumas. The players' voices emit every nuance required to let listeners experience the swashbuckling deeds of the famous heroic threesome and the boy called D'Artagnan who wants to join their ranks. When the young man arrives in Paris with the wish to enlist with the King's Musketeers, he finds himself challenged to three duels in his first afternoon in the city by men who turn out to be Porthos, Aramis, and Athos-the Three Musketeers. Instead of fighting against them, the twists of fate have D'Artagnan battling for them against the evil Cardinal Richelieu's guards. After demonstrating his worth with a sword, D'Artagnan proves more of his mettle by journeying to England to foil a plot to embarrass France's Queen Anne, the former Anne of Austria. D'Artagnan saves his queen but loses the woman he loves, so he seeks vengeance and, in turn, instills himself firmly in the ranks of the Musketeers. The flavor of the original is evident even though this abridged version includes only highlights in its retelling.-Joanne K. Hammond, Chambersburg Area Middle School, PA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
From Barnes & Noble
Dramatic, stirring, and romantic, the story of D'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and their famous code of "one for all and all for one," remains an unsurpassed tale of adventure and heroism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582790350
  • Publisher: Trident Press International
  • Publication date: 12/1/1999
  • Series: Signature Classics Series
  • Pages: 776

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
The three gifts of monsieur d'artagnan the elder


On the first Monday of April, 1625, the market town of Meting, birthplace of the author of the Roman de Ia Rose, seemed to be in as great a turmoil as if the Huguenots had come to turn it into a second La Rochelle. A number of townsmen, seeing women running in the direction of the main street and hearing children shouting on doorsteps, hastened to put on their breastplates and, steadying their rather uncertain self-assurance with a musket or a halberd, made their way toward the inn, the Hotellerie du Franc Meunier, in front of which a noisy, dense, and curious throng was growing larger by the minute.

Panics were frequent in those times, and few days went by when an event of this kind was not recorded in the archives of one town or another. Noblemen fought among themselves; the king was at war with the cardinal; the Spanish were at war with the king. And then, besides all this secret or open warfare, there were robbers, beggars, Huguenots, wolves, and lackeys, who were at war with everyone. The townsmen always took up arms against robbers, wolves, and lackeys, often against noblemen and Huguenots, sometimes against the king, but never against the cardinal or the Spanish. It was because of these habits that the townsmen, on that first Monday of April, 1625, bearing a commotion and seeing neither a red and yellow Spanish flag nor the livery of Cardinal Richelieu, hurried toward the Franc Meunier inn.

When they arrived there, they were able to see the cause of the tumult.

A young man ... Let us sketch a rapid portrait of him. Imagine Don Quixote at eighteen, a Don Quixotewithout chain mail or thigh pieces, wearing a woolen doublet whose original blue had been transformed into an elusive shade between purple and azure. He had a long, dark face with prominent cheekbones, a mark of shrewdness; his jaw muscles were heavily developed, an infallible sign by which one can recognize a Gascon, even without a beret, and our young man wore a beret adorned with some sort of feather. His eyes were frank and intelligent; his nose was hooked, but finely drawn; he was too big for an adolescent and too small for a full-grown man. An untrained eye might have taken him for a farmer's son on a journey if it had not been for the sword that bung from a shoulder belt, slapping against his calves when he walked, and against his shaggy horse when he rode.

For the young man had a mount, one that could not fail to attract attention: a small Bearn horse twelve to fourteen years old, with a yellowish coat, an almost hairless tail and sores on his legs. He walked with his head lower than his knees, which made a martingale unnecessary, but he could still do twenty miles a day. Unfortunately his good qualities were hidden by his strange color and his outlandish gait. He had come into Meting a quarter of an hour earlier through the Beaugency gate, and since in those days everyone was a practiced judge of horses, his appearance had caused a sensation that cast disfavor on his rider.

This was all the more painful to young d'Artagnan (such was the name of the Don Quixote astride that other Rosinante) because he was well aware of how ridiculous his horse made him seem, even though he was an excellent rider. That was why he had sighed when he had accepted the horse as a gift from his father. He knew that such an animal was worth at least twenty livres; the words that had accompanied the gift, however, were priceless.

"My son," the Gascon nobleman had said in the Bearn accent that Henry IV never succeeded in losing, "this horse was born on my estate nearly thirteen years ago and has never left it. That should be enough to make you love him. Never sell him, let him die peacefully and honorably of old age, and if you go to war with him, treat him with consideration, as you would treat an old servant. At court, if you have the honor to go there, an honor to which our ancient nobility entitles you, be worthy of your noble name, worthily borne by your ancestors for over five hundred years. For yourself, your relatives, and your friends, never tolerate the slightest affront from anyone except the cardinal or the king. Remember this: it's by courage, and courage alone, that a nobleman makes his way nowadays. Anyone who trembles for even one second may lose the chance that fortune offered him precisely at that second. You're young, and you must be brave for two reasons: first, you're a Gascon; and second, you're my son. Don't be afraid of opportunities, and seek out adventures. I've taught you to use a sword. You have iron legs and a steel wrist. Fight duels at the drop of a hat, especially since duels are forbidden: that means it takes twice as much courage to fight one.

"My son, all I have to give you is fifteen ecus, my horse, and the advice You've just heard. Your mother will give you the recipe for an ointment that a Gypsy woman taught her how to make: it miraculously heals any wound that doesn't reach the heart. Make the most of all these gifts, and have a long, happy life.

"I have only one more thing to add: an example for you to follow. It's not MY own, because I've never appeared at court and I've fought only in the wars of religion as a volunteer. I'm speaking of Monsieur de Treville, who used to be my neighbor and had the honor of playing with our King Louis XIII—may God preserve him!—when they were both children. Sometimes their games turned into fights, and the king didn't always win them. The drubbings be got from Monsieur de Treville made him feel great respect and . . .

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Table of Contents

Translator's Introduction 9
Part 1
1 The Three Gifts of Monsieur d'Artagnan the Elder 27
2 Monsieur de Treville's Ante-Room 42
3 The Audience 53
4 Athos' Shoulder, Porthos' Shoulder-Belt, and Aramis' Handkerchief 65
5 The King's Musketeers and the Cardinal's Guards 73
6 His Majesty King Louis XIII 84
7 The Musketeers at Home 105
8 A Court Intrigue 115
9 D'Artagnan takes Command 124
10 A Seventeenth-Century Mouse-Trap 133
11 The Plot Thickens 144
12 George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham 162
13 Monsieur Bonacieux 171
14 The Man of Meung 180
15 Soldiers and Magistrates 191
16 In which Seguier, the Keeper of the Seals, looks again for the Chapel Bell which in his youth he rang so furiously 201
17 The Bonacieux at Home 213
18 The Lover and the Husband 228
19 The Plan of Campaign 236
20 The Journey 245
21 My Lady de Winter 259
22 The Merlaison Ballet 269
23 The Tryst 277
24 The Summer-House 285
25 Porthos' Mistress 299
26 Aramis' Thesis 318
27 Athos' Wife 335
28 The Return 355
29 In Search of Equipment 369
30 Milady 378
31 English and French 386
32 Lunch at the Lawyer's 394
33 Mistress and Maid 403
34 How Aramis and Porthos Found Their Equipment 413
35 All Cats are Grey at Night 422
36 Plans for Revenge 430
37 Milady's Secret 437
Part 2
1 How Athos Found His Equipment Without Bestirring Himself 447
2 A Vision 456
3 The Cardinal 464
4 The Siege of La Rochelle 473
5 The Anjou Wine 484
6 The Red Dovecote Inn 492
7 The Advantage of Stove Pipes 500
8 A Conjugal Scene 508
9 The Bastion of St Gervais 514
10 A Council of War 521
11 A Family Affair 539
12 Disaster 553
13 Conversation Between Brother and Sister 561
14 Officer! 569
15 First Day of Captivity 579
16 Second Day of Captivity 586
17 Third Day of Captivity 593
18 Fourth Day of Captivity 601
19 Fifth Day of Captivity 609
20 Histrionics in the Grand Manner 623
21 Escape 629
22 What Happened at Portsmouth on 25 August 1628 638
23 In France 648
24 The Carmelite Convent at Bethune 654
25 The Female and the Male 668
26 A Drop of Water 674
27 The Man in the Red Cloak 690
28 The Trial 696
29 The Execution 704
30 A Messenger from the Cardinal 709
Epilogue 719
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Reading Group Guide

1. Discuss Dumas's use of historical events in the novel. Do you think a knowledge of history is necessary or unnecessary in order to enjoy the novel? Discuss the ways in which Dumas alters or takes liberties with real events in order to suit the story. Is his view of history sanitized in any way?

2. Dumas is thought of as the chief popularizer of French Romantic drama. In considering The Three Musketeers, do you think this reputation is an accurate one? How does Dumas use dramatic effect in the novel?

3. Contemporary critics were offended by the scenes depicting vice and violence in the novel. Do you find these scenes arbitrary or not?

4. Many critics have described the musketeers as well-developed stereotypes, but are there ways in which the musketeers transcend these stereotypes? Are there other, perhaps more complex ways of interpreting the four protagonists?

5. Discuss Dumas's female characters, in particular Milady. What is her role in the novel, and what does this reveal about Dumas's views of women, if anything? Does Dumas depict a war between the sexes?

6. How do the chapter endings contribute to Dumas's masterly maintenance of pace? How does this kind of device recall a play, and how does this speak to Dumas's strengths stylistically?

7. In what ways is The Three Musketeers a bildungsroman? Would you characterize the work as a youthful novel?

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